Sony has today announced its own video streaming service that will launch on the company's XR range of 2021 TVs. It serves 4K and IMAX Enhanced movies at "up to 80 Mbps".
Movies from Sony Pictures
Sony's new video streaming service will, at least initially, be exclusive to its own TVs, and only the new high-end "XR" 2021 8K and 4K LCD TVs as well as "XR" 4K OLED TVs. The catalog will also be limited to movies from Sony's own movie studio, Sony Pictures.
- "In collaboration with Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), Bravia Core is where entertainment meets technology and was developed to add value and showcase unique Sony experiences. Pre-loaded on all new Bravia XR models, users can enjoy a selection of the latest SPE premium and classic titles and the largest IMAX Enhanced collection," the company announced.
Sony said that Bravia Core will include the "latest box office films" as well as catalog movies. The latest movies will be redeemable through vouchers (5 or 10 vouchers depending on the 2021 Sony TV purchased). In addition, the purchase of a Sony 'XR' model will give the owner access to an "Unlimited Streaming" section with over 100 Sony Pictures catalog titles, with more coming later. The service will also feature the largest library of 'IMAX Enhanced' movies (50+ titles at launch) as well as Studio Access, which covers behind-the-scenes material and extras.
Some of the highlighted titles are Spider-Man: Far From Home, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and The Karate Kid.
"UHD Blu-ray equivalent quality"
The most exciting part about Bravia Core, however, is that it will raise the bar for video streaming quality. Provided that your internet connection is fast enough, 4K HDR movies will be served in up to 80 Mb/s, the company said, possibly referring to the overall bitrate. Sony calls it Pure Stream.
- "Bravia Core is the first in the industry to feature Pure Stream technology, achieving near lossless UHD BD equivalent quality with streaming up to 80 Mbps," said Sony.
For comparison, Netflix recently slashed its average bitrate for 4K video in half. It serves 4K video in up to 17.2 Mb/s video bitrate, depending on the scene. Apple TV+ has previously held the crown with 4K streaming exceeding 40 Mb/s video bitrate at times. Sony is promising almost double the bitrate of Apple TV+ and the company is even referring to it as "UHD BD equivalent quality".
Sony said that Bravia Core will support 4K HDR10 with variable bitrate. It will offer audio in up to DTS Digital 5.1, so not exactly the Blu-ray equivalent in terms of audio quality.
If Bravia Core can truly live up to Sony's promise, 2021 could be an exciting year for video streaming as it may push other services to follow suit. Sony added that it is "an evolving platform" that is "ready for the future", perhaps alluding to plans to offer 8K content later on.
Bravia Core will launch in 50 territories in 2021 including North America and countries in Europe except Italy.